The library was founded in 1943, just one year after Los Alamos was selected as the site for the Manhattan Project. It was started as a subscription library by 70 couples, each of whom donated $5.00 for the purchase of books, and was located in a small room in the Big House, one of the original buildings of the Boys Ranch School. In 1945 it became a free library when the Army Post Recreational Council handed over financial responsibility to Army Post Special Services. In 1946, the library became the Mesa Library, guided by a Library Committee of five, and in 1951 it became the Mesa Public Library, an independent corporation under contract with the Atomic Energy Commission. At that moment the library had 30,000 volumes and 7,000 registered volumes.